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Blues/Avalanche vs Blackhawks

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Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Blues see latest first-round exit as 'a big letdown'

Wednesday, 04.30.2014 / 4:42 PM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- The St. Louis Blues gathered at the rink one final time before heading their separate ways, their feelings leaning toward disappointment and frustration after another exit in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It was locker cleanout day at the Ice Zone inside St. Louis Outlet Mall on Wednesday, and it came sooner than they expected.

A pick by some to win their first Stanley Cup, the drought will go into a 48th season in 2014-15. But a year after learning the hard lesson of losing a 2-0 series lead in the first round against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, the Blues suffered the same fate in 2014 against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

After losing four straight in the six-game Western Conference First Round series, players Wednesday echoed the sentiment expressed by general manager Doug Armstrong and coach Ken Hitchcock the day before: There was a lack of killer instinct.

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Five reasons why the Blues were eliminated

Monday, 04.28.2014 / 2:18 PM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- The end result was not exactly indicative of how the Western Conference First Round series between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks was played out, but in the end, it's another disappointing and bitter pill for the Blues to swallow with an early Stanley Cup Playoffs exit.

Though their season ended with a 5-1 loss in Game 6 on Sunday, where the Blackhawks broke the game open with four third-period goals, four of the first five games were decided in overtime and Game 3 was a down-to-the-wire 1-0 game until Chicago added an empty-netter.

The series was a brand of contrasting styles, with the defending Stanley Cup champions going more for skill against the Blues' grit and physical nature.

The Blues lost the series 4-2 in similar fashion to the way they lost in the first round in 2013 against the Los Angeles Kings. Here are five reasons the Blues are again on the outside looking in:

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Five reasons why the Blackhawks advanced

Monday, 04.28.2014 / 1:26 AM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks loosened up one of the tightest series in recent Stanley Cup Playoff history with a dominating third period Sunday.

The Blackhawks scored early, then again, and again and again to run roughshod over the St. Louis Blues in what turned out to be the final 20 minutes of a best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series that was aptly termed a battle by players and coaches on each side.

Chicago made sure the series didn't go the distance with a 5-1 win in Game 6 at United Center.

After losing the first two games at Scottrade Center in overtime, the Blackhawks won four straight to move one step closer to becoming the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions since the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings.

How did the Blackhawks get it done against St. Louis? Here are five reasons:

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Keith's four-point performance sparks Blackhawks

Sunday, 04.27.2014 / 9:15 PM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has been behind the bench for most of the past six seasons of defenseman Duncan Keith's career, watching him win one Norris Trophy and contribute on two Stanley Cup championship teams.

Just when Quenneville figured he had seen Keith do it all, there was Game 6 against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday.

"I've been around here for six years and [Duncan], that might have been the best game I've ever seen him play," Quenneville said.

Keith had his second career four-point game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, helping lift the Blackhawks to a 5-1 series-clinching victory in the Western Conference First Round. Chicago moves on to play the winner of the series between the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild.

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Blues' Miller struggles in first-round series loss

Sunday, 04.27.2014 / 8:33 PM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- Ryan Miller was acquired by the St. Louis Blues to be the missing piece of a Stanley Cup championship puzzle, the goalie capable of stealing a game or two and putting his team on his back by making the impossible save possible.

That was the plan anyway, and it seemed foolproof at the time the Blues brought Miller in on Feb. 28 in a blockbuster trade with the Buffalo Sabres.

It didn't end well. Miller wasn't close to helping the Blues bring the Stanley Cup to St. Louis for the first time.

He gave up five goals on 27 shots Sunday, including four on 16 shots in the third period, when the Chicago Blackhawks turned a tight game into a 5-1 series-clinching victory against the Blues in Game 6 of the Western Conference First Round at United Center.

Miller finished the series with a .897 save percentage and 2.70 goals-against average. He allowed three or more goals in five games. He gave up only one goal in Game 3, but his counterpart in the other net, Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford, was better that night with a 34-save shutout.

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Blues ousted early again with loss to Blackhawks

Sunday, 04.27.2014 / 7:57 PM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- With their Stanley Cup Playoff lives on the line, the St. Louis Blues were given an opportunity to force Game 7 in their Western Conference First Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Knotted in a 1-1 tie during Game 6 on Sunday, the Blues had just peppered the Blackhawks with 17 second-period shots, and after being given two first-period power plays, St. Louis had a chance at four more of them in the second period at United Center.

Nearly the entire second period was spent in the Blackhawks zone, and the Blues had chance after chance. But when those opportunities went by the wayside, Pandora's Box was opened and the Blues were once again left on the outside looking in.


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Ramsay: Blues power play must get puck down low

Saturday, 04.26.2014 / 7:01 PM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

For additional insight into the Stanley Cup Playoff series between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks, NHL.com has enlisted the help of former NHL coach Craig Ramsay to break down the action. Ramsay will be checking in throughout the series.

Ramsay played in more than 1,000 NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres before going on to coach the Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers and Atlanta Thrashers. In the 2000 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he led the Flyers to the seventh game of the Eastern Conference Final. Ramsay was most recently an assistant coach with the Florida Panthers.

CHICAGO -- The St. Louis Blues are struggling to score on the power play against the Chicago Blackhawks because they're relying too much on the outside shot instead of funneling pucks low and toward the net, longtime NHL coach Craig Ramsay told NHL.com.

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Five things Blues must do to force Game 7

Saturday, 04.26.2014 / 5:02 PM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- The similarities might haunt a more pessimistic St. Louis Blues fan. They might even force an optimistic fan to rethink his positivity.

Last year, matched up in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis took a 2-0 series lead with Alexander Steen scoring the winner in Game 1 and Barret Jackman playing the hero in Game 2.

The same thing happened this year in Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference First Round against the Chicago Blackhawks, the defending Stanley Cup champions.

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Blackhawks' Toews finding touch at right time

Saturday, 04.26.2014 / 1:39 AM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

ST. LOUIS -- Jonathan Toews says he expects to score "ugly goals" in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That didn't happen Friday night.

Toews' breakaway goal 7:36 into overtime off a clearing attempt from Duncan Keith by way of Andrew Shaw's shin pad was a thing of beauty, and something of a lucky break too. The Chicago Blackhawks' captain will take it not only for the win, but for his personal confidence.

Toews was forced to help the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in other ways last year because he went into a deep scoring slump; he went the first nine games without a goal and then another 10 before he scored twice in the last three games of the Stanley Cup Final.

Toews had three goals in 23 playoff games last year; he already has two, both game-winners, in five games this year. Toews' goal Friday lifted Chicago to a 3-2 win against the St. Louis Blues and a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series.


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Blues paying huge price for missed scoring chances

Saturday, 04.26.2014 / 12:45 AM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- Some things just seem to be agonizing. For the St. Louis Blues, the inability to finish scoring opportunities have them down 3-2 in the Western Conference First Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blues' 3-2 overtime loss to Chicago in Game 5 on Friday saw the home team lose for the first time in this series. Just as in 2013, when the Blues jumped to a 2-0 series lead against the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Quarterfinals before losing in six games, they are on the brink of elimination as they head to Chicago for a must-win Game 6 (3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

And much like 2013, the inability to bury their scoring chances is exacting a huge price. They led 2-0 in this series and now have dropped three straight.

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